Ecology in a changing climate
Climate change impacts from individuals to ecosystems
CONS 310 -- Anthropogenic climate change has already raised the global temperature nearly one degree, with far more radical warming predicted in the coming decades. With this elevated temperature regime come shifts in frosts, precipitation, storms and extremes. Alongside these major physical impacts many aspects of ecological systems are changing. This course will build on the fundamental organizing units of ecology: individuals, populations, species, communities and ecosystems to build a framework to understand what has shifted in the last 40 years and what we may expect by the end of the century.
This class will be lecture and discussion-based with students expected to actively participate and work with one another in and outside of class on course projects. Knowledge of fundamental concepts in ecology and evolution will be key for keeping pace with the course.
At the end of the course, you should be able to:
(1) Explain the basic science of anthropogenic climate change
(2) Describe the major physical and biological evidence of climate change
(3) Describe the organizing levels of ecology and how they are relevant to understanding and predicting climate change impacts
(4) Describe the major ecological impacts of climate change and how they mechanistically occur
(5) Debunk the top five myths related to climate change impacts
(6) Understand the major sources of uncertainty about how much warming will occur in the future, and over what biological timescales
(7) Be able to design a basic study to detect and attribute biological changes due to climate change
(8) Explain what will happen to local, regional and global ecosystems under different warming scenarios
Instructor -- Associate Professor and Canadian Research Chair in Temporal Ecology Lizzie Wolkovich brings four years of teaching experience in conservation from Harvard University. Her research focuses on how plant and animal species shift their life history timings with warming, working with local, regional and global impacts data.